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BTR market snapshot shows continued growth but London lagging

The latest Build To Rent snapshot up to late summer shows the number of BTR homes in stages of planning across the UK rising by 52 per cent - but only when struggling London is excluded.

The data comes from the British Property Federation and relates to activity to the end of August.

It shows there are now 167,853 BTR homes across the UK either complete, under construction or in planning. This is a 22 per cent jump against the same period last year.


Between Q2 2019 and Q2 2020 the number of completed BTR homes rose 37 per cent, the number under construction decreased by five per cent and the number in planning jumped by 27 per cent.

But London is “subdued” according to the BPF.

However, the pandemic means that the number of starts and completions saw a steep decline in Q2 2020, reflecting the unique circumstances of the Covid-19 outbreak, and a break with what had been a strong 2019 and Q1 2020.

In Q1 2020, the sector undertook 4,297 starts and 3,417 completions, but Q2 saw a sharp decline for both with only 1,827 starts and 1,640 completions.

The BPF’s data, collected by Savills, shows that local developers are currently responsible for building 28 per cent of the market, with UK housebuilders (27 per cent), major UK developers (17 per cent), contractors (14 per cent), registered providers (nine per cent) and major international developers (three per cent) making up the rest.

“The sector will play a key role in supporting the government’s ambitious plans to ‘level up’ the country’s regions and in building a shared recovery where more people across the country, whether they choose or need to rent, will have more choice of rental properties available to them” explains Ian Fletcher, the federation’s director of real estate policy.

He adds: “The BTR sector’s growth will also aid the Prime Minister’s ambitions to ‘Build Build Build’, with valuable construction jobs being created in all parts of the UK, but this requires momentum behind converting planning applications to construction starts. 

“These decisions however will be on a knife-edge for the next year, as risks rise and productivity remains low as a result of Covid-19, and so the government must ensure its does not take this much-needed new investment for granted, and both our planning and tax systems give confidence to investors to make decisions today for the long-term health of the UK housing market.”


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